E-Squared Magazine
Art + Science | Culture
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Wednesday, March 20th, 2024

a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit at RIT

Collaboration is crucial in today’s interconnected world as it fosters the exchange of diverse perspectives and expertise, often leading to innovative solutions that individuals working in isolation may not achieve alone. This past week/end (Mar. 14 -17), I had the privilege of participating in the a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Summit at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and collaborating with people from around the world. This year’s summit was centered on the topic of PLAY: The Impact on How We Create and Relate to the World.

When we arrived at RIT, we were divided into groups to solve a “problem” within the sub-theme of play. My group was tasked with the sub-theme of New Ideas/Creativity. What did I––more importantly we––learn? The real challenges involved in collaborating on an interdisciplinary team. I have worked on interdisciplinary teams before but never quite in this way. My team consisted of one person from each: machine learning, art education, human-centered digital media design, communication, and new media art.

As a group, we had to work through many challenges, like being stuck in a more nebulous, philosophical state (all of us); being unable to decide on any one idea to move forward with; starting any sort of process to work towards an outcome (i.e., getting stuck time and time again); having our respective disciplinary languages and processes align; forgetting about “play” altogether; struggling to bring ourselves back to that center; working through conflict but coming out on the other end just fine; and so on. One surprising discovery that we all had in alignment was realizing that we do not really permit ourselves to “play” in the sense that children or even other adults do. That we define play differently and we kind of lost play in the midst of our process. A trip to the National Museum of Play helped us to reflect more deeply about play and reincorporate it back into our work.

[L-R] E, Supratim, Emily, Nelson, & Pin; The Museum of Play
 
 
Overall, in a relatively short period of time, we all became very close as we navigated challenges of interdisciplinary work collectively. And we came up with such a fantastic final project to present, which we initially prioritized the outcome as the pinnacle of our project. As we collaborated, however, a profound shift occurred for us all––the outcome became the least important part and our focus shifted from the final product to the collaborative journey itself, and this is where our understanding of each other and synergy truly blossomed. We are people first, and acknowledging our commonalities and our differences is crucial for impactful research. At any one point in time, it would be safe to say our group arrived at success and failure, failure and success, and anywhere in between. If you truly want to learn how a process works, you must try, fail, and try again. It is a very messy process, and it is certainly not easy, but to arrive at higher order solutions, we need to be able to work on interdisciplinary teams.

Screenshot 2024-03-20 at 2.51.54 PM
The Spectrum of Failure & Success [drawing by E. Dustman]

 
Over the course of the summit, we moved from a model of cooperation to a model of cooperation and collaboration, but it took some time to get there. Together, cooperation and collaboration translate to much more meaningful work and build a strong foundation for successful teamwork and problem-solving in all aspects of life.

Screenshot 2024-03-20 at 3.43.51 PM
Model of Cooperation (L) vs. Cooperation & Collaboration (R) [drawing by E. Dustman]

 
Focusing on the process over the outcome cultivated a culture of learning and growth and though difficult a times, promoted adaptability and flexibility. Ultimately, investing in robust processes lays the foundation for sustainable success and longevity, shaping resilient teams capable of thriving in an ever-changing world.

All in all, I am deeply honored and truly grateful for the opportunity to have been able to participate in this inspiring, stimulating, and fun weekend as we worked through the real-world challenges of collaborating on interdisciplinary teams. I honestly think it has informed each one of us in new and different ways––the languages we speak, how we translate, how our processes are different yet similar, what inclusivity really means, and so much more. It was a growth opportunity for everyone, and I know that each one of us plans to carry our learnings forward in all that we do.

 

Monday, March 11th, 2024

Exploring Mass Production, Talent, and Quality in Art

Andy Warhol, an icon of the Pop Art movement, revolutionized the art world with his unique approach to mass production, challenging traditional notions of talent and the balance between quality and quantity. As we delve into Warhol’s legacy, we are confronted with intriguing questions about the nature of art, creativity, and the ethics of artistic production.

Warhol’s embrace of mass production techniques, such as silkscreen printing, transformed art into a commodity accessible to the masses. Through his famous works like the Campbell’s Soup Cans (pictured above) and Marilyn Monroe portraits, Warhol blurred the lines between high and low culture, elevating everyday objects and celebrities into the realm of fine art. His use of repetition and standardized techniques challenged the romantic notion of the solitary artist, emphasizing instead the role of the factory and the assembly line in the creation of art.

However, Warhol’s approach raises ethical considerations about the exploitation of other talents. His Factory studio was a hub of creativity, where Warhol collaborated with a diverse array of artists, musicians, actors, and writers. While Warhol himself gained fame and fortune, many of his collaborators remained in the shadows, their contributions often overlooked or undervalued. This prompts us to question the power dynamics inherent in artistic collaborations and the ethical responsibilities of artists towards their collaborators. Moreover, Warhol’s emphasis on mass production and quantity over quality challenges traditional notions of artistic excellence. Critics argue that Warhol’s prolific output diluted the significance of individual works, leading to questions about the intrinsic value of art in a world inundated with reproductions. Does the sheer quantity of Warhol’s work diminish its quality, or does it redefine our understanding of artistic merit in the age of mechanical reproduction?

In contemplating Warhol’s legacy, we are compelled to reconsider our assumptions about talent, originality, and the role of the artist in society. While Warhol’s mass-produced art may seem to prioritize quantity over quality, it also democratized the art world, making art more accessible and inclusive. Yet, we must remain mindful of the broader implications of mass production on artistic integrity and the livelihoods of other creative individuals.

Ultimately, Warhol’s legacy reminds us of the complex interplay between art and commerce, individual talent and collective creativity, and the enduring quest for authenticity in an age of mass reproduction. As we navigate these intricate themes, we are challenged to critically engage with the ever-evolving landscape of art and culture, questioning established norms and forging new paths towards innovation and expression. In our digital age, Warhol’s legacy takes on new significance as technological advancements further democratize the creation and distribution of art.

Now, with the proliferation of digital platforms, social media channels, and artificial intelligence (AI) we are presented with both opportunities and challenges, raising important questions about authenticity, originality, and the commodification of outputs of any kind in an increasingly interconnected world.

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

CANVAS FOR CHANGE: The Importance of Art in Conservation Biology

Last month, I had the honor of serving as a guest lecturer for two days for Dr. Todd Levine‘s conservation biology course at Carroll University. My presentation, titled CANVAS FOR CHANGE: The Importance of Art in Conservation Biology, delved into the crucial role of art in the sciences.

On Day 1, we explored the history of art in science, and why we should *all* be incorporating art in science in our modern times. To connect theoretical concepts discussed with the tangible, real-world experience of nature, students explored their surroundings at the Prairie Springs Environmental Education Center.

On Day 2, students learned basic drawing techniques and principles, understanding form, structure, proportions in the context of biological subjects to complete both an artwork and reflection writing.

Being invited to Carroll University as a guest lecturer was a profound privilege, allowing me to exchange insights and interact with students on this vital topic. Such opportunities are invaluable and much needed in fostering meaningful discussions.

And we need more of this! Why?

🖼 Art in science serves as a visual conduit, elucidating complex theories and phenomena, making them accessible and engaging to a broader audience.

🎭 Art in science not only elucidates complex theories but also imbues them with emotion, inviting viewers to connect on a deeper level with scientific concepts.

🔗 By intertwining art and science, researchers can evoke curiosity and awe, igniting a passion for discovery that transcends the boundaries of traditional scientific communication. This fusion of intellect and emotion not only enriches our understanding of the natural world but also cultivates empathy and appreciation for the beauty inherent in scientific exploration.

Friday, February 9th, 2024

Being Bold: What Does it Mean to You?

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”––Goethe

Here is a portrait of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe by Andy Warhol (1982). At the time, Warhol was reflecting on how the mass media changed our perception of reality. Still today, media campaigns influence people’s perception of reality and misperceptions can act as impediments to social change.

In a world often painted in shades of caution, there’s an undeniable allure to boldness. Being bold isn’t just about making grand gestures or daring moves; it’s a mindset that propels us beyond our comfort zones, urging us to seize opportunities, express ourselves authentically, and navigate life with confidence. It’s about embracing courage in the face of uncertainty and forging ahead despite fear.

Embracing Fear, Embracing Growth

Boldness isn’t the absence of fear; rather, it’s the audacity to confront fear head-on. It’s about acknowledging those fluttering butterflies in your stomach and taking that leap anyway. Boldness resides in recognizing that growth and meaningful experiences often exist just beyond the borders of our comfort.

Think of the moments in history that have shaped the world—the explorers venturing into the unknown, the innovators challenging the status quo, the activists fighting for change. Each of these instances required a level of boldness that transcended the fear of failure or the comfort of the familiar.

The Power of Authenticity

At the core of boldness lies authenticity. It’s about embracing your true self, unapologetically. When you’re bold enough to be authentic, you invite others to do the same. Authenticity breeds connection and creates a ripple effect, inspiring those around you to embrace their uniqueness.

Boldness in authenticity isn’t about being loud or brash; it’s about being honest and genuine. It’s the quiet confidence of staying true to your values, passions, and beliefs, even when it might not be the easiest path to tread.

Navigating Risks and Rewards

Life is inherently uncertain, and boldness involves navigating risks with an understanding that the greatest rewards often lie on the other side of those risks. It’s not about acting recklessly but making informed decisions and calculated leaps of faith.

Being bold encourages resilience in the face of setbacks. It’s understanding that failures are not endpoints but opportunities for learning and growth. Each setback becomes a stepping stone toward future success—a testament to the audacity it takes to pursue something extraordinary.

Cultivating Boldness in Everyday Life

Being bold doesn’t always require monumental actions. It can manifest in everyday choices—speaking up for what’s right, pursuing a passion project, or simply taking a different path. It’s about infusing a sense of adventure and bravery into the mundane aspects of life.

Seek out new experiences, challenge assumptions, and embrace discomfort as a catalyst for growth. Start with small steps, gradually expanding your comfort zone until boldness becomes a natural part of your character.

Living with Boldness

Embracing boldness isn’t about becoming an entirely different person. It’s about unlocking the latent courage within yourself and embracing the full spectrum of human experience. It’s about living life on your terms, unafraid to chase your dreams and create the life you envision.

In a world that often encourages conformity and safety, being bold stands as a beacon of individuality and bravery. So, dare to be bold—embrace your fears, live authentically, take calculated risks, and watch as your life transforms into an adventure worth living.

As the saying goes, “Fortune favors the bold”—and perhaps, so does a life rich with fulfillment, growth, and extraordinary experiences.

 

 

Monday, February 5th, 2024

Professional Development: Using Art to Communicate Science

“By incorporating artistic elements into our communication strategies, we can effectively convey complex scientific concepts in a more accessible and compelling manner.”––E. Dustman

Recently, Emily Dustman had the privilege of leading a thought-provoking professional development session in collaboration with Allison R. Byrd and Dr. Alexa Lamm at the National Agriculture Communication Symposium (NACS) in Atlanta, Georgia. The professional development session, “Using Art to Communicate Agricultural and Environmental Science”, leveraged the complementary strengths of art and science to our enhance communication efforts.

In the ever-evolving landscape of science communication, the integration of art has emerged as a powerful tool to engage and connect with audiences on a deeper level. Through the professional development session, the team emphasized the importance of recognizing subjective interpretations of words and how they can evoke different emotions. The knowledge gained from this session helped improve participants’ skills in messaging and further helped them see how art can serve as a conduit for eliciting both understanding and emotion.

The session opened with an interactive activity involving semantic grouping of words. Everyone was divided into groups and tasked with collaboratively creating word associations to tell a story, recognizing that words carry different meanings and connotations for individuals. This exercise encouraged everyone to explore the nuances of language and consider how our choice of words shapes the perception of scientific information.

Building upon the semantic grouping activity, we proceeded to have everyone select two words from their collective pool and assign an emotion to each. They were then tasked to select colors they thought represented their emotions and color the squares in accordingly. This visual aspect added another layer of depth to the group’s communication, as colors have the power to evoke strong emotional responses and convey subtle nuances that words alone may fail to capture. As a closing activity, we invited participants to guess the emotions associated with each word based on the colored squares—a testament to the interconnectedness of art, emotion, and perception in communication.

Art possesses the remarkable ability to transcend language barriers and evoke emotions that resonate universally. This professional development session with Emily Dustman, Allison Byrd, and Dr. Alexa Lamm serves as a catalyst for exploring new avenues of expression and enhancing our effectiveness as science communicators. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, let us continue to harness the transformative power of art to illuminate science and apply it in our communication endeavors to ignite curiosity and inspire positive change in the world.

_______________

Dustman’s research focuses on the integration of art into our communication systems as a powerful tool to enhance public understanding, foster empathy, and inspire collective action. Byrd and Lamm brought a rich background of expertise to the professional development session. Byrd is a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia and her research focuses on the intricate relationship between science and the public, with a particular emphasis on the dimensions of culture and communication. Lamm is an expert in social science research, exploring the influence of communication strategies on decision-making processes and the adoption of innovative scientific technologies aimed at enhancing agricultural production while upholding environmental sustainability.

NACS was held in conjunction with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists annual meeting. To learn about additional Lamm Lab presentations held at this convergence of conferences, see our post on the Southern Region meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences, Southern Region American Association for Agricultural Education Conference , and the Southern Rural Sociological Association.

Monday, January 1st, 2024

A Resolve for Every Day of the New Year

It’s that time of year when we resolve to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behavior, accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve in some way.

Personally, I don’t believe in reserving resolutions for just one time a year though – I believe in making resolutions all year long. This time of year, I like to shift my focus and reflect on what lessons I have learned and how I have grown as a person.

The past year may have been surreal, absolutely fantastic, a total doozy, or a mixture of things. Whether you’ve struggled or thrived, you’ve likely learned a lesson or two, so consider asking yourself:

☛ What lessons have I learned?
☛ What did I learn about navigating adversity?
☛ What was I surprised to learn that I could accomplish?
☛ What did I do in 2023 that I’m proud of?
☛ What will I leave behind and carry forward?

As we round the corner into 2024, here’s to a cheerful present, a well-remembered past, and a prosperous year ahead!

Thursday, December 28th, 2023

Reinventing what’s beneath us.

May we carry on in the spirit of “reinventing what’s beneath us.”

In the realm of contemporary art, there are few figures as enigmatic and boundary-pushing as Pope.L. Born William Pope.L, this visionary artist’s work transcends conventional definitions, challenging societal norms and questioning the very essence of human existence. His artistic repertoire is a tapestry woven from the threads of performance art, interventionist tactics, and social commentary.

The Art of Provocation

 
Pope.L’s art isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a visceral experience that confronts audiences with uncomfortable truths. His performances, often provocative and confrontational, aim to stir conversations about race, class, and power dynamics within society.

An agitator and humorist, Pope.L used his own body to examine division and inequality on the streets and stages of New York City and in Maine, where he taught for 20 years—all “to reinvent what’s beneath us, to remind us where we all come from.” From crawling on the streets wearing a Superman costume or consuming pages from a book filled with racial slurs to pushing a cart across Manhattan with a symbolic burden, his work pushes the boundaries of discomfort, inviting viewers to confront their prejudices and perceptions.

Pope.L’s artistic legacy is not just a collection of artworks; it’s a testament to the potency of art as a medium for societal discourse. His daring and unapologetic approach have redefined the boundaries of what art can be, urging us to embrace discomfort, confront prejudices, and strive for a more inclusive and introspective society.

 

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

The Art + Science of Chess

The Art & Science of Chess
♟️. ♞. ♛. ♚. ♜. ♕. ♘. ♟. ♖. ♔. ♝. ♙.

“Chess is everything—art, science, and sport.”––Anatoly Karpov

“Check,” he said. So, I moved my king.

“Check.”

I knew it was over. It was a move I did not see coming, but I moved my king again.

“Checkmate.”

Sure, I could have tipped my king over early on, but chess requires a systematic approach, and if you are still building out your strategy, it can be good to play out the game until it is over.

As with most things life, in chess, knowledge and experience are cumulative and can be acquired in small, steady doses. Chess forces you to think both critically AND creatively, and with practice, you end up exercising both your critical mind as well as your creative mind.

Yes, I said it, there is an artistic side to the game of chess. There is the obvious beauty in each piece but also, a visual pattern that changes with each move. In this way, the game builds on the artistic eye, requiring just as much visualization as calculation.

Most important of all, chess teaches you that you need to create your own opportunities – and to “never wait too long to make a move, because the perfect time may never come or come too late.”

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

On the Beginner’s Mind

On the Beginner’s Mind
––
I consider myself a beginner in many things, but no matter what I am doing in life, I try and approach everything I do as if I am on a new path, remaining open to discovery along the way. Do you remember the first time you decided to do something different or take a brand-new path?

Thus far in my experience, it feels like I have been on so many different paths, and I have a lot of interesting stories to tell as a result. I am going to set the scene for you from one of my experiences while out on a late-night stroll, which I often take:

It was a late, hot summer night with a full moon to light the way. I decided to take a different path––the alley. On my stroll, I saw an opossum friend on top of the fence line and paused to observe her typical travels. She moved carefully on top of the fence line, jumped down into a grassy patch, clumsily tromped through a garden bed, and crawled through the broken lattice beneath a porch. I moved on. In the light of the moon, I saw something glimmer. It was an antique brass rim lock in a pile of alley scrap. I put it in my pocket for safekeeping (it now hangs on my wall). Then, as I was making my way, I began to hear music and decided I wanted to find the source. Hearing the layers of sound echoing off of the city architecture was quite magical but presented a challenge in finding the source. So, I closed my eyes and similar to a bat, used echolocation to interpret the sound waves in an attempt to find the band. Of course, I was not making sounds myself, but I was using a tool I knew about in nature to achieve an outcome. When I finally arrived at the source, before me was an 18-piece brass band (What Cheer) with people celebrating and dancing all around. We were mostly strangers to each other, but we danced the night away anyway.

What’s my point here? Well, I think it is important to approach life with a beginner’s mind––to stay curious, allow yourself to wonder around blindly, trust your gut, and always, always, ask a lot of questions. Most importantly, try to begin everything you do with fresh eyes, without any preconceptions, and with an attitude of openness so that we can all dance, even if we are just strangers in the night.

Cheers to all that is yet to be discovered on new paths!

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

Emily Dustman joins the Lamm Lab

Last year, Dr. Alexa Lamm invited me into her classrooms as a visiting speaker on the Congruence of Art + Science as it Applies to Hedonics. I also taught an illustration workshop on the Intersection of Art + Science associated with climate change and plant adaptation. It was such a fantastic experience, and I met so many amazing students and faculty in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication at The University of Georgia.

This year, I am pleased to announce that I am *joining Dr. Lamm’s lab* as a doctoral student. The Lamm Lab is comprised of a group of individuals, each from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, all with an overarching mission to research how we can globally build consensus to inform policy to address myriad issues, how culture and identity influence this process, and how targeted communication efforts can assist in the creation of solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems.

Whoever would have thought that almost one year later, I would be moving to Georgia?! I am beyond grateful for this opportunity, and I am so excited to get started with the Lamm Lab this semester. I can’t wait to work together and learn from the amazing team of researchers and leaders that make up her lab!

 

Continue reading at the link:

Emily Dustman Joins the Lamm Lab

 

Category Archives: Uncategorized

a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit at RIT

Collaboration is crucial in today’s interconnected world as it fosters the exchange of diverse perspectives and expertise, often leading to innovative solutions that individuals working in isolation may not achieve alone. This past week/end (Mar. 14 -17), I had the privilege of participating in the a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Summit at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and […]

Exploring Mass Production, Talent, and Quality in Art

Andy Warhol, an icon of the Pop Art movement, revolutionized the art world with his unique approach to mass production, challenging traditional notions of talent and the balance between quality and quantity. As we delve into Warhol’s legacy, we are confronted with intriguing questions about the nature of art, creativity, and the ethics of artistic […]

CANVAS FOR CHANGE: The Importance of Art in Conservation Biology

Last month, I had the honor of serving as a guest lecturer for two days for Dr. Todd Levine‘s conservation biology course at Carroll University. My presentation, titled CANVAS FOR CHANGE: The Importance of Art in Conservation Biology, delved into the crucial role of art in the sciences. On Day 1, we explored the history of art […]

Being Bold: What Does it Mean to You?

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”––Goethe Here is a portrait of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe by Andy Warhol (1982). At the time, Warhol was reflecting on how the mass media changed our perception of reality. Still today, media campaigns influence people’s perception of reality and misperceptions can act as impediments to social change. […]

Professional Development: Using Art to Communicate Science

“By incorporating artistic elements into our communication strategies, we can effectively convey complex scientific concepts in a more accessible and compelling manner.”––E. Dustman Recently, Emily Dustman had the privilege of leading a thought-provoking professional development session in collaboration with Allison R. Byrd and Dr. Alexa Lamm at the National Agriculture Communication Symposium (NACS) in Atlanta, Georgia. The professional development session, “Using […]

A Resolve for Every Day of the New Year

It’s that time of year when we resolve to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behavior, accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve in some way. Personally, I don’t believe in reserving resolutions for just one time a year though – I believe in making resolutions all year long. This time of year, I like to […]

Reinventing what’s beneath us.

May we carry on in the spirit of “reinventing what’s beneath us.” In the realm of contemporary art, there are few figures as enigmatic and boundary-pushing as Pope.L. Born William Pope.L, this visionary artist’s work transcends conventional definitions, challenging societal norms and questioning the very essence of human existence. His artistic repertoire is a tapestry […]

On the Beginner’s Mind

On the Beginner’s Mind –– I consider myself a beginner in many things, but no matter what I am doing in life, I try and approach everything I do as if I am on a new path, remaining open to discovery along the way. Do you remember the first time you decided to do something […]

Emily Dustman joins the Lamm Lab

Last year, Dr. Alexa Lamm invited me into her classrooms as a visiting speaker on the Congruence of Art + Science as it Applies to Hedonics. I also taught an illustration workshop on the Intersection of Art + Science associated with climate change and plant adaptation. It was such a fantastic experience, and I met […]